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In a new worry, Hyderabad hospitals see rise in breakthrough infections

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ET Health
14th October, 2021 16:13 IST
Representative imageHYDERABAD: In the last one month alone, several hospitals in Hyderabad have reported between 5 and 10 cases of breakthrough infections each. As per WHO guidelines, a breakthrough infection occurs when someone tests positive for Covid-19 a fortnight after taking both vaccine doses.

Worried doctors are hinting at the possibility of a further spike in the near future. At present, they estimate that about 10% of all Covid-19 cases comprise patients suffering from breakthrough infections.

“This is largely being seen among patients with co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, on immune suppressants like cancer patients or organ transplant patients. Although we have had breakthrough infections among some of our doctors, they were very mild,” said Dr Pradeep Panigrahi, medical director, SLG Hospitals.

Doctors, however, maintain that the mortality rate in such cases is still close to negligible.

“While vaccination is essential to control the spread of Covid-19, no vaccine is 100% effective and that is why these breakthrough infections happen,” said Dr Nikhil Mathur, chief of medical services at Care Hospitals. He added: “The good thing with these infections so far is that the mortality is negligible and also the hospital stay is brief. Mortality is still largely seen among unvaccinated people at the moment.”

Apart from breakthrough infections, hospitals are also reporting cases — about 25% to 30% of all Covid-19 patients — where partially vaccinated individuals have contracted the virus again. The rest, they say, are among vaccine-reluctant individuals who have not taken even a single dose.

“There are also some cases where the patient has been infected immediately after taking the second dose, but has not completed the 14-day period after vaccination. These do not fall under breakthrough cases but do come to us in a critical state. This is because they have not yet mounted an adequate immune response,” said Dr Visweswaran Balasubramanian, consultant interventional pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals.

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